A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jungle Beat: The Movie is an animated romp featuring animals who wake up one morning and discover they can talk, all because a gentle alien has landed in their midst. When the animals welcome him warmly, he's reluctant to complete his mission, which is to conquer Earth, but the animals try to help so that he can accomplish his task and go home. Mild cartoon perils are played mostly for comic effect. The message, suitable for young kids, is that love, warmth, and affection can conquer loneliness and aggression.
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What's the story?
When the animals rise one morning in JUNGLE BEAT: THE MOVIE, they're surprised to find that they can suddenly talk. They quickly learn that the power comes from an alien named Fneep (Ed Kear), a rubbery little blue creature who is too shy and embarrassed to admit that he's been sent by the people of Scaldra to conquer Earth. A monkey called Munki (David Menkin), an elephant named Trunk (Ina Marie Smith), a rhino named Rocky (David Menkin), and a hedgehog called Humph (John Guerrasio) are so warm and friendly that, just to be helpful, they immediately agree to be conquered. We learn that Fneep is an unusually peaceful Scaldronian, making him a bit of a failure in his own world, so he's grateful that he can finally report that he's made a conquest. All he wants to do is go home now, even though he has no friends. When his father, the large and blustery Grogan (David Rintoul), arrives to take him home, he decides to conquer Earth himself, which requires taking the animals as prisoners back to Scaldra. Fneep moves to defend his new friends and uses hugs to convert his father to more peaceful ways.
Is it any good?
This movie is adorable. With a little bit of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial -- an alien longing for home -- and a tad of the fun, talking, singing animals of Madagascar, the ingredients whip up a recipe that young kids will enjoy. And if they learn from watching Munki, Trunk, and Rocky about how to make shy people feel welcome, and how important hugs and encouragement are, that's just a bonus.
The animals in Jungle Beat: The Movie marvel at how much fun it is to talk and to learn new words, echoing the process many younger viewers may be experiencing themselves as their vocabularies grow by the minute. In one scene, a character struggles to be patient and do the right thing instead of being impulsive, something many kids will relate to. The inclusion of an ill-tempered hedgehog named Humph, who is probably grumpy because no one can safely hug him, balances what might otherwise feel a bit treacly and oversweet.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what kind of person Fneep seems to be. Why do you think he doesn't want to tell the friendly animals on Earth what his mission is?
What do the animals teach Fneep in Jungle Beat: The Movie? How can you make others feel welcome?
How does Fneep reconnect with his blustery father? Does sweetness work better than anger in relationships? Why?
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